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MOSCOW, May 22. /TASS/. Russia and Turkey plan to sign intergovernmental agreement on the Turkish Stream project till the end of the first half of 2015, Deputy Minister of Energy Anatoly Yanovsky told TASS Friday.
"We’re holding talks aiming to sign the agreement till the end of the first half of the year," he said.
The Turkish Stream will serve as an alternative to the South Stream gas pipeline project abandoned by Russia in December 2014. The larger part of the Turkish Stream pipeline will run across the Black Sea and coincide with the South Stream route approved earlier.
As was reported earlier with reference to member of Gazprom Board of Directors Oleg Aksyutin, South Stream gas pipeline construction in shallow waters will begin in first 10 days of June. The pipeline will be put in place by the Italian company Saipem. Aksyutin said Russia’s gas giant might update the contract with Saipem. Currently, Gazprom is negotiating new conditions with its Italian partner, while the operations are fulfilled within the old contract, he added.
Earlier this month Gazprom instructed to begin the Turkish Stream construction. The contractor had been waiting for it since December 1, 2014, when Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia abandoned the South Stream project implementation and was embarking on the Turkish stream instead.
Unlike the South Stream, which implied a large-scale infrastructure construction in Europe, the Turkish Stream project is limited to the construction of a pipeline under the Black Sea and a gas hub on the border between Turkey and Greece. The remaining part of infrastructure will have to be built by Gazprom’s European customers themselves.
Saipem earlier reported it had received a notice from its client South Stream Transport BV /100% affiliated company of Russia’s Gazprom/ lifting suspension of the pipeline construction. "Saipem announces that it has received a notice that South Stream Transport BV is lifting the suspension of work under the contracts, and that Saipem should commence works on the offshore pipeline in the Black Sea," the company reported.
Saipem, a subsidiary of Italian energy company ENI, was awarded with the contract on pipes laying for the offshore segment of the South Stream gas pipeline. The work was suspended at the request of the customer after Russia announced the project shutdown.
Earlier, Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller said the Turkish Stream pipeline is scheduled to begin operation in December 2016. "An understanding has been reached /between Russia and Turkey - TASS/ on the start of the pipeline operation and gas deliveries via the Turkish Stream in December 2016," Miller said on May 8. "Gazprom will proceed from the accords reached in its schedule of work under the Turkish Stream project," Miller said after a meeting with the Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yildiz.
Gazprom and Turkey’s Botas signed a memorandum of understanding on December 1, 2014 on building the pipeline’s offshore section across the Black Sea.
The Turkish Stream will have an annual capacity of 63 billion cubic meters, of which 47 billion cubic meters will be delivered to a new gas hub on the Turkish-Greek border. Gazprom Russkaya Company will be in charge of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline construction.